Bronze Sculpture Tribute to Sonoco Team Members is Centerpiece of Company's Centennial Celebration

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Bronze Sculpture Tribute to Sonoco Team Members is Centerpiece of Company's Centennial Celebration

HARTSVILLE, S.C., May 21 /PRNewswire/ -- "People Build Businesses", a fundamental principle of Sonoco's (NYSE: SON) culture since its founding in 1899, is the title of a newly dedicated sculpture in bronze to honor the men and women of Sonoco - - past, present and future - - on the occasion of the Company 100th anniversary.

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The sculpture, created by Charles Parks, includes four life-size figures to represent the global Sonoco family. These four figures are engaged in various tasks common to the Sonoco work place. The sculptor's challenge was to represent Sonoco's past, present and future team members in work that would relate across geographic boundaries. From the intense concentration on the faces of the workers to the Sonoco logo on the baseball hat, the artist shows a strong attention to detail in this bronze sculpture that exceeds his charge to capture the spirit of individual accomplishment.

At the base of the sculpture are quotes from each chief executive officer over Sonoco's 100-year history. These six quotes describe the importance of people to the company's success.

In discussing the challenge he faced to create the sculpture to honor the working men and women of Sonoco, Charles Parks noted that, "throughout history we have built monuments to honor politicians and statesmen. They have certainly made visible impact and significant contributions to society, but what about the important role of the people who work behind the scenes to make the world a better place to live? It is time we honor the people who make our ever-improving standard of living possible. My goal in creating the Sonoco centennial sculpture was to recognize and witness to the dignity of the people who make the day-to-day operation and manufacture of useful products possible."

Charlie Coker, chairman of Sonoco and great grandson of Sonoco's founder, Major James Lide Coker, remarked that the company, "Wanted to provide a lasting tribute to the efforts of the Sonoco team, past, present and future, who have been the single reason Sonoco has prospered over these first 100 years. A company, after all, is simply a collection of people who create products and make the organization work to achieve financial results and reputation."

During the unveiling of the sculpture, Peter Browning, president and chief executive officer of Sonoco said, "Charles Parks has a true gift for being able to capture the value of the human spirit and the dignity of the individual. He has indeed captured the essence of what makes Sonoco people so very special."

"We think this sculpture will become a destination piece in South Carolina. It is rare that sculptures are commissioned by global corporations to honor their people and serve as the centerpiece for a Centennial celebration. It is also an exquisite piece of art that conveys the strength of its subject," observed Mr. Browning.

The Sonoco sculpture, 'People Build Businesses', has been placed in a landscaped setting created by landscape artist Sheila Wertimer of Charleston, S.C., located directly in front of the company's corporate headquarters on Second Street in Hartsville, S.C. The sculpture revolves once every 10 hours.

Charles Parks' body of work encompasses more than 500 sculptures in a wide range of media including bronze, wood, welded steel, plaster, iron, terra cotta and fiberglass. He says, "The essence of sculpture is its ability to capture the structural harmony that pervades all forms of life, and create the symbols that have spiritual meaning for both the sculptor and the observer."

Charles Cropper Parks has been creating figurative sculptures for more than 50 years. Though born in Virginia, he considers himself a native of Wilmington, Del., where he was raised and currently maintains his studio. He was educated at the University of Delaware and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Over his distinguished career he has won numerous awards and honors and his work can be found from Stockholm, Sweden, to San Francisco, Calif. He is a trustee of South Carolina's Brookgreen Gardens, where five of his works have been added to the Garden's permanent collection.

Sonoco is a global packaging company with nearly 16,500 team members at 275 operations in 32 countries serving customers in more than 85 countries. The company was founded in Hartsville in 1899 as the Southern Novelty Company. Sonoco had 1998 sales of $2.6 billion.


"For employees - - a good wage, good working conditions and fair treatment. For customers - - service, fair prices and quality."

Major James Lide Coker

President 1899 - 1918

"We are learning that every individual is responsible for the health, happiness and general welfare of every other individual in our Sonoco community."

Charles Westfield Coker

President 1918 - 1931

"Does a company have a heart? I know this company does, because its people do. And this, I believe, is what makes our company unique. This, I believe, is what makes all of us join effort to bring greater job security to the whole Sonoco family and to bring conscientious and honest effort to every job."

James Lide Coker, III

President 1931 - 1961

"Sonoco considers each employee a partner in the present and future. The success of the company is dependent on its employees, whose skills are instrumental in putting into practice new ideas and techniques necessary for Sonoco to continue moving ahead."

    Charles W. Coker
    President 1961 - 1970
    Chairman  1970 - 1976

"Sonoco has prospered for one hundred years because of the achievements and quality of its people. It can be nothing else. A company, after all, is a collection of people who create products, make it all work to achieve financial results and, ultimately, create its reputation. People build businesses!"

    Charles W. "Charlie" Coker
    President  1970 - 1990
    Chief Executive Officer  1976 - 1998
    Chairman  1990 - Present

"Wherever I travel to visit Sonoco's global operations, there is something unique and distinctive shared by all our people, regardless of language or location - - a strong culture, based on historical values, that recognizes the importance of guarding the dignity and safety of each individual."

Peter C. Browning

President and Chief Operating Officer 1996 - 1998

President and Chief Executive Officer 1998 - Present
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CONTACT: Allan Cecil, Vice President of Sonoco, 843-383-7524
CAPTION: CHF004 SONOCO SCULPTURE - PEOPLE BUILD BUSINESSES People Build Businesses. Sonoco commissioned a sculpture in bronze to honor its team members -- past, present and future. This sculpture, created by Charles Parks of Wilmington, Del., is titled "People Build Businesses." This art work is located in front of the company's corporate headquarters in Hartsville, S.C., in a space created by landscape architect, Sheila Wertimer of Charleston, S.C. This work was commissioned to capture the spirit of Sonoco people and the culture and values they represent. (PRNewsFoto)[DM] HARTSVILLE, SC USA 05/21/1999